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IWC antique pocket watch rear cover VERY hard to open

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I am NOT a pro, but I have this IWC Full Hunter 14K yellow gold antique pocket watch. Original Sav. cal. 53 gi- 19lig. H 5 movement dating from the year 1913 with a full hunter case and cuvette. I believe the watch size is 43.15mm. Approximate thickness about 12mm, approximate weight about 103 grams.

The face cover opens easily with the crown button and closes easily and snugly. The inside rear cover seems to be okay. BUT the outside rear cover (it seems to me) should open easily as well with your thumb nail in the little lip on the side. But it is VERY difficult to open and I have to use a small pry tool to get it open. When closing it seems to "snap" closed very snugly as well. I can't believe it could "bent". But I suppose if one were to accidentally bend the open cover toward the hinge?  Or could it be caused by the movement being put in another case perhaps? (serial numbers are: movement: 565271. Case number: 631039 +31457 and +55231). 

Does anyone have experience with this issue or what could cause this?

Thanks so much.

open lid 6.jpg

open gears 4.jpg

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That's a very nice pocket watch you have there.  I once had a rare IWC C56 Americaine, and it was very high grade.

It's odd that you're showing 3 different numbers from the case. Are those factory engraved into the front, back, and dust-cover? If so, it would seem to indicate that it could be a Franken-case. That said, it doesn't look like it in the images. It looks like both front and back have what are called Jurgensen lips, denoted by the little extra cover piece that travels up the pendant. If you have images of those serial numbers, it might help to determine something. That all said, the fact that the back is tight, may just be how that case is. Back when it was made, it was rare for people to really need to see the mechanism, or make adjustments. And the harder it is, the more effective it may be at keeping out dust. Cheers.

 

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Yes thank you for your response. You may be very correct... the rear covers may simply fit very tightly as a safety feature. I see the movement number clearly stamped 565271 on the body. And the case number: 631039 stamped on the inside cover.
The other numbers (+31457 and +55231) are stamped on the movement body, appear to be original and are very difficult to see without magnification. Though I am not sure of their significance, I include them here to be as detailed as possible.

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I can't see where those numbers are on the movement. Sometimes there can be Swiss patent numbers on the plates, and are near by the word "Brevet", or a cross symbol. Both of those numbers refer to Swiss patent numbers attributed to the IWC. 31457 is for a crown-wheel design. 55231 is for a design relating to fastening the dial.

The more I look at the case, the more I believe that it is original to the movement. Jurgensen lip cases are generally on the heavy side, and are used for high quality movements. What does the outside of the case look like? Initials? Engine-turning (finely engraved cross-hatching)? I'm just curious. Beautiful watch.

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Yes I would agree that the +31457 and +55231 which are so tiny as to be barely visible, are probably patent numbers. "Pat. Pend." would not be used in Europe I would imagine. There are no initials, engravings or design on the case or covers. As the watch is an estate heirloom, I feel certain it is completely original. I am considering offering it for sale. These are some other photos.

lead 1.jpg

open lid 5.jpg

open face 3.jpg

open face 2.jpg

side edge 8.jpg

IWC logo 9.jpg

front close 11.jpg

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It's a nice watch. The almost certainly original case does show a bit of expected wear, as if a watch has been worn, but looks pretty solid. There does look like the front cover has been "sprung" a little. The slightly larger gap between the cover and the case band seem to indicate that. Still, overall it's very nice, IMHO.

I believe the market is still pretty strong for early IWC watches. Good luck if you sell it. Cheers.

 

 

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